Thursday, March 24, 2016

It really doesn't have to be this way

Yes, who appoints the next Supreme Court Justice is important, but so is who appoints cabinet members and hires other officials with whom to surround themselves. Hillary Clinton's financial advisor is Gary Gensler, the same man who, with Bill Clinton, shoe-horned the new deregulatory language into the Commodity Futures Modernization Act at the last minute in the dead of night and then tacked the whole ugly package onto a bill to fund the entire government - without most people who voted for it even knowing the CFMA had been changed so radically. Clinton says her husband - who created the "new economy" and rammed through deregulation Republicans could never pass because Democrats used to stop them - will also be an advisor. The man who crafted America's foreign policy of endless wars, Henry Kissinger, is apparently a mentor of Clinton's and he still has her ear.

I have no faith whatsoever that her Supreme Court appointments will be any better than a Republican's as regards these issues, and the only question is which social justice hostage she will choose to stamp "progressive" credentials onto while selling out the others. "Centrists" give a lot of lip-service to being defenders of reproductive rights while normally never lifting a finger to prevent the right-wing's attacks on them from being successful. They've treated the fight for abortion rights as icky, they come up with slogans like, "Safe, legal, and rare," trying to distract us from what they are saying. Rare? We're talking about a medical procedure here - do you say you want appendectomies to be "safe, legal, and rare"? If they really even believed that, wouldn't they have stopped voting to fund abstinence-only sex miseducation by now and returned to the older model that was, y'know, trying for truthful effectiveness? Oh, but Bill Clinton reversed his predecessor's infamous order not to fund abortions for our overseas military personnel, so he was a champion of reproductive rights - while abortion became increasingly inaccessible in most of the United States.

Yes, Trump and Sanders are both a response to the same problem, but that problem, more than anything, is that Democrats in leadership went over to the other side and started fighting their own party in favor of the same Republican policies we hate. And we hate those policies because they are terrible, damaging, dangerous policies. The kind of austerity policies that, imposed from without, created the fertile soil for fascism in Weimar Germany.

And since the Democratic leadership kept enabling Republicans and marching to the right, the Republicans had to march further to the right and went completely over-the-top. The authors of today's Republican Clown Car Politics were the Democratic Leadership Council.

If Clinton wins the presidency, I have no faith that she or her supporters will do a damned thing to right the course of the nation and restore the policies that used to protect our country and its people - and get rid of the policies that have been the fuel of rising fascism on the right. Trump may never be president, but what's behind him isn't just going to go away under the leadership of someone who promises more of the same.

The Huffington Post says, "Win Or Lose, Bernie Sanders Has Changed America," but I'm worried about what happens if all those Bernie kids get slapped in the face with a Clinton nomination and either Trump wins (which I still think is unlikely) or Clinton becomes president and continues the policies that have given us Trump and his movement of fascists in the first place. She can't keep the lid on it if she delivers on her promise to maintain the status quo.

Results Tuesday in Arizona, Idaho and Utah: The sparse polling for Arizona put Clinton ahead by at least 26 points, and she won the state but Bernie did do better than predicted and was only 18.1 points down.
* There weren't many polls available for Utah, either, and Clinton was ahead in January by 10 points, down to seven points in February and by this month Bernie was eight points up, but on Tuesday he came out massively higher at 79%-20.3. RCP only shows one poll for Idaho, in February, and it shows Sanders at +2, But he won 78%-21.2%. A decent night for Bernie.
* "AZ Lawmakers to hold special hearing on elections fiasco" - There were many complaints of voting problems in Arizona, with people having to wait in line for hours after never having to wait before. A huge turn-out meant the decision to cut polling places in Maricopa County from 200 to 60 meant people were waiting for four or five hours to cast a ballot. Moreover, registration lists appear not to have been up-dated and many people who had recently registered as Democrats found they were either not listed (first-time voters) or re-registration from Independent had not been changed.

Meritocracy of Failure: Video, Thomas Frank on the State of the Democratic Party, interviewed by Thom Hartmann.

Senator Sanders was the only candidate in the race who didn't show up for AIPAC, but he did make a speech from elsewhere. "Sanders Outlines Middle East Policy." Hillary Clinton was in attendance, however, and gave a "disgusting speech" that would have made any right-wing hawk proud. HuffPo said, "Bernie Sanders Delivered A Killer AIPAC Speech ... In Utah, while Slate said "Hillary Clinton's AIPAC Speech Was a Symphony of Craven, Delusional Pandering: Clinton had an opportunity to show some political courage. She decided to alienate the left instead." And Bernie did a One-on-One with Chris Hayes.
* Vox is taking a different view, saying that Clinton's speech "sounded as or more in tune with Israeli right-wing concerns than even many speeches by conservative Republican candidates." But that's okay, because she didn't really mean it.

"With Tax Plan, Sanders Beats Both Clinton and Trump by Double Digits: After accounting for 'No Idea,' the tax plan put forth by the only democratic socialist in the race is the winner... by far. Undermining the flawed trope that "everyone hates the tax man," for those who have opinions on the competing tax plans put forth by this year's presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders' proposal is the hands-down favorite. Beating out all other contenders from both major parties by double-digit margins, according to a new survey WalletHub/Survey Monkey published Monday, Sanders' plan was supported by 23 percent of respondents. In comparison, only 13 percent liked the plan of Hillary Clinton best, giving her a slight edge over the 12 percent who chose Donald Trump's plan. Taking the fourth and fifth spots respectively, Sen. Ted Cruz nabbed 8 percent support while Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) got 5 percent.

Not sure this gives her a problem in the general like the headline says, but it's nice to know so many "BernieBros" are women. "Sanders Wins Millennial Women Two-to-One; Clinton Would Have Millennial Problem in General Election. "Sanders now leads Clinton among younger voters by 54%-37%, an even bigger advantage than the 11-point edge he held in January's survey. Millennial women now back Sanders by a jaw-dropping 61%-30% while the divide among Millennial men is much closer, 48%-44%.

Pierce: "The Scariest Thing About Trump? He's Winning Fair and Square He has forced the Republican party to reckon with many decades of poor choices." Yes, but poor choices by the Democrats, too, for enabling the crazy and creating the economic conditions that are fertile ground for the growth of fascism. You can't hollow out the wealth of the working classes without creating this kind of reaction. Your choices are left-wing populism or right-wing populism. And the Democrats kept their mouths shut and nodded along, and Obama kept saying things like, "Republicans have some good ideas," while saving his insults for "the crazy far-left", and this is where you go. And now the Democrats are offering more of the same. It may delay the nightmare of a fascist leadership by a couple-few years to get Clinton into the White House, but unless she changes her mind and uses the power of the presidency to do everything possible to restore the economy, it's just not going to last.
* Charlie also isn't impressed with Brooks' worries about Trump.

Remember that time George W. Bush told us the thing to do after 9/11 was to go shopping? And remember that time a divorced mother of three told George Bush she couldn't make ends meet working three jobs and he said, "You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that"? I wonder if Hillary is going to run through any more of George W. Bush's greatest hits. And by the way, Madame Secretary, no one should have to shop for health insurance.

"Think Again Hillary Democrats: 10 Reasons Why She Could Lose this Fall." I actually think a lot of this is wrong, but there are a few bits that didn't seem wrong at all. I still doubt Trump can beat Clinton, but this is a strange election season.

You don't see a lot of stories about Jane Sanders on the campaign trail, but she seems to have picked an unusual stop, having a confrontation with the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio when she toured his equally infamous Tent City Jail.

"Russell Begaye, President of the Navajo Nation, Endorses Bernie Sanders at Flagstaff, AZ Rally."

"Congressman calls on bankers to 'neuter' Elizabeth Warren - the 'Darth Vader' of Wall Street: Senior House Financial Services Committee member, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) told a conference of bankers Wednesday morning that they needed to 'find a way to neuter' Sen. Elizabeth Warren, according to Politico. Luetkemeyer was at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington when he made the remark, also calling Warren 'the Darth Vader of the financial services world.'"

"Joan Baez calls Donald Trump supporters 'troglodytes,' says Bernie Sanders 'speaks to the human condition'.
* Sarah Silverman on Bill Maher Explains Why She Dumped Hillary For Bernie.

You gotta wonder what was President Bill thinking - presumably, he was talking about the Republicans, though how we can put that behind us is unclear, but it's pretty easy to take it that he means the Obama administration when he says, "'But if you believe we can all rise together, if you believe we've finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us and the seven years before that where we were practicing trickle-down economics with no regulation in Washington, which is what caused the crash, then you should vote for her,' he added." Oh, I see, he wants you to forget who put that no-regulation stuff into action, and that was the guy before George W. Bush. What was his name again?

Ian Welsh, "Why Poor White Males Are the Core of Trump's Support [...] So, for damn near 48 years, poor whites have done terribly. For forty-eight years, ordinary politicians have promised to do something about it, and nothing has improved. Do not tell me, or them, that they are 'privileged.' Yes, it is better to be poor and white than poor and black, and better to be a poor white man than a poor white woman, but people who are in pain do not react well to some smug, upper-middle-class jerk telling them they are privileged when their lives are clearly terrible."

"Report Of High Level DNC Infiltration In N. Carolina Sanders Campaign: Niko House is the President of North Carolina College Students for Bernie Sanders. In a recent video posted to youtube, he describes the orchestrated infiltration of the Bernie Sanders campaign in that state by well-connected DNC operatives. House goes into great detail to describe intimidation tactics used against his group that seemed counterproductive - suppression of advertising for events, reaching out to the community, etc. He goes into some detail explaining that the outsiders who stepped in and took over the campaign from the initial grassroots organizers made what seemed like a concerted effort to avoid reaching out to black leaders in North Carolina and basically ran the campaign into the ground. The videos are worth a watch and pretty illuminating. I'd also say they're disturbing, but we've all come to expect these types of tricks from the Clinton campaign."

Political cartoon: "Total electoral eclipse"

Robert Reich wants you to act now, because, "My old department -- the U.S. Department of Labor -- is close to issuing a new rule giving lower-wage salaried workers the overtime pay they deserve. (I explain the justification for the rule in the accompanying video.) But the moneyed interests don't want it. Just days ago, congressional Republican shills of big U.S. corporations introduced legislation to block the new rule. Anyone in America who still believes Republicans in Washington are working for average workers rather than for the privileged and the powerful few has no idea what's going on. Vote them all out of office this November. (From his Facebook page.)

Steve M. is talking about the Supreme Court nomination, and while he's talking about Republican tactics and how "moderate" Merrick Garland is or isn't, I noticed something interesting in the first comment, noting that, "I'm going further: in my view, President Obama has nominated the best candidate for the SCOTUS period. I don't just mean 'in these peculiar circumstances'. Garland is the lawyer's lawyer, the judge's judge. If there were a votes on these matters by every attorney in the nation and by every judge in the nation, I have no doubt that Garland would among the top 5 in the first and would be at the top of the second. But even that doesn't capture the brilliance of this nomination: this SCOTUS has two big needs plus one desperate one. It needs another criminal law expert; it needs another administrative law expert; and it desperately needs who would become its ONLY antitrust expert. That last one is actually alarming: if one goes back to the federal courts appointments of each of both Roosevelts, Wilson, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Carter, yes even GWB Bush, and dammit even to some extent first term Reagan, the one single golden thread that runs through the thousands of judges nominated by those 16 White Houses is an understanding of the dangers of business trusts and the necessity of a federal court system that gets the dangers of economic monopolies and monopsonies, and the need to bust trusts or at least regulate the oligarchical tendencies in the American economic system. Garland is an order of magnitude more adept and solid on antitrust law than even Breyer and Notorious." You know, that could be really cool.
* But Charlie Savage says, "Merrick Garland Often Deferred to Government in Guantánamo Cases." That's not the kind of thing that instills confidence.

Mike Signorile notes that the Human Rights Campaign has done it again, endorsing a Republican with only a 75% HRC rating over Democrat Tammy Duckworth, who has a 100% rating. Duckworth has been a hard worker on behalf of gay rights and she deserved that endorsement.(Source: The Hill.)

"The Job-Killing Trade Deal You've Never Heard Of: The China Bilateral Investment Treaty: In behind-the-scenes negotiations with China, the Obama administration is pushing a trade compact that could export jobs overseas and erode worker protections. Why?"

"Huge Victory: Senate Rejects the DARK Act: Today, the Senate did the right thing and did not advance a bill from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) that can best be described as the Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. The bill would have prevented states from requiring labeling of genetically engineered (GMO) foods and stopped pending state laws that require labeling to go into effect."

NYT Public Editor: "Were Changes to Sanders Article 'Stealth Editing'?" Stealth editorializing in a news story, more like.

Dean Baker with Trade Lessons for Thomas Friedman "Thomas Friedman once again stumbled into trade policy, telling us that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is exactly the sort of trade deal that tough negotiator Donald Trump would have gotten. Unfortunately, he gets some of the big things badly wrong."

"In Louisiana, the Poor Lack Legal Defense: I'm the public defender in Vermilion Parish, right now the only public defender. Due to a lack of funding for our district and our office, today we will be taking applications for our service but you will be put on a wait list."

"Illinois cuts off funding for its public universities."

Our friends in Philly might want to know that there is an alternative to monopolistic cable companies - and it's a no-contract deal.

"Flint's Police Chief Calls Break-In At Office Storing Water Documents an 'Inside Job': Suspicions are growing regarding a mysterious break-in at the city of Flint, Michigan's city hall, where an office containing documents relevant to the city's ongoing crisis with contaminated water were stored. Flint's new police chief, Tim Johnson, more or less made the implication the two events are linked on Friday, telling the Flint Journal the robbery was an 'inside job.' 'It was definitely an inside job,' he told the site, noting only a television has been confirmed to be among the missing items. 'The power cord (to the TV) wasn't even taken. The average drug user knows that you'd need the power cord to be able to pawn it.' 'It was somebody that had knowledge of those documents that really wanted to keep them out of the right hands, out of the hands of someone who was going to tell the real story of what's going on with Flint water,' Johnson continued. His opinion was echoed by Mayor Karen Weaver, who confirmed she also thought the timing and target of the robbery curious. 'Well sure (it's suspicious) when they go into a room where all the water files were and they take a TV, but not the cord to make it work, yes,' the mayor told the paper. '... We don't know if papers or files were taken because papers were all over the floor.'"

"Blacks at All Wealth Levels Are More Likely Than Whites to Be Incarcerated." Yes, being wealthier does, obviously, reduce the chances that you will be incarcerated, but, "Wealth does not provide the same degree of insulation from imprisonment for black and Hispanic males as it does for white males."

"Redaction error reveals FBI did target Lavabit to spy on Edward Snowden: Court-ordered release of Lavabit case files finally reveals Snowden was target of action that shuttered secure and private email service."

UK: "Scratch. One. Tory." Ian Duncan Smith resigned from the government, ostensibly because cuts to disability benefits offended his conscience (not bloody likely), and it would seem to portend a real revolt in the party and growing recognition that austerity is definitely not working and maybe George Osborne isn't so smart after all! It was nice to see the government back down on the cuts despite Osborne's efforts to keep digging that hole. In any case, Paul Mason reckons the IDS resignation is Jeremy Corbyn's victory: "In one speech he's blown apart the Tory front bench, made likely two substantial revolts, destroyed the cabinet and made the Tories look like incompetent fools." Even better, "It's a disaster for Blairites. They'd prepared their cabbage patches of opposition to Labour's own new fiscal rule, and spent weeks revving up to diss Corbyn over his expected mishandling of the Budget. Instead Labour is ahead in one poll, tied in another, and its radical left leadership looks not just vindicated politically, but - and this matters in the Commons - tactically: Corbyn and McDonnell executed a near perfect hit on the government by announcing their own fiscal rule; denouncing the benefit cuts; and now splitting the cabinet."
* "Snooper's Charter: Tech companies will have to give police 'back-door' access to customers' data. Companies will not be allowed to tell customers if their messages are being shared with police."

Brazil: "Brazil Is Engulfed by Ruling Class Corruption - and a Dangerous Subversion of Democracy [...] But the picture currently emerging in Brazil surrounding impeachment and these street protests is far more complicated, and far more ethically ambiguous, than has frequently been depicted. The effort to remove Dilma and her party from power now resembles a nakedly anti-democratic power struggle more than a legally sound process or genuine anti-corruption movement. Worse, it's being incited, engineered, and fueled by the very factions who are themselves knee-deep in corruption scandals, and who represent the interests of the richest and most powerful societal segments long angry at their inability to defeat PT democratically. In other words, it all seems historically familiar, particular for Latin America, where democratically elected left-wing governments have been repeatedly removed by non-democratic, extra-legal means. In many ways, PT and Dilma are not sympathetic victims. Large segments of the population are genuinely angry at them for plainly legitimate reasons. But their sins do not justify the sins of their long-standing political enemies, and most certainly do not render subversion of Brazilian democracy something to cheer."

Juan Cole: "Int'l Criticism mounts over massive Israeli 'land grab' in Palestinian West Bank."
* In Haaretz "Protesting Bigots and Demagogues at AIPAC? Don't Stop at Trump. Call Out Netanyahu Too [...] Israel has already built the wall that Trump only talks about. It has blighted the lives of millions of Muslims, as Trump says he would like to do. Its behavior has been far more bellicose than anything Trump has exhibited so far and its racism is not only more extreme, but a lot more deadly. The supporters of Israeli Trumpism have assassinated a prime minister, gunned down worshippers in a mosque, burned a Palestinian baby to cinders in its bed and committed thousands of other racist atrocities. But when the Israeli Trump-in-chief arrives in Washington, he is feted by AIPAC as the true representative of Jewish values. The anti-Trump. What perversion allows American Jews - or the majority of them, it would seem - to regard Donald Trump as the antithesis of their Jewish values and Benjamin Netanyahu as their exemplar? What cognitive bypass enables them to recognize the potential fascism of Trump, but not the existing tyranny of Israel's rule over the Palestinians, under the decade-long leadership of Netanyahu?

"Erdogan claims fighting terrorism outweighs democracy in Turkey: Combating terrorism is Turkey's highest priority, even higher than the rule of law, Turkish President Erdogan has said. Following a recent bomb attack in Ankara, he has pledged to crack down on Kurdish dissidents." So, pretty much like the New America.

In the fight against plastic, we now have the edible spoon. (Scroll down for video.)

Did you know what happens when you put a brick inside of a washing machine on top of a trampoline?

Some nice photographs of Whitechapel Bell Foundry, and a chat with Alan Hughes, its current owner. I've spoken to Alan a few times, mainly because if you phone the main number at the Foundry, he is sometimes the person who answers. Just think, the owner of Britain's oldest manufacturing plant answers the phone.

The Grateful Dead to Release July 1978: The Complete Recordings: "The collection contains five complete concerts, including the band's historic debut at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheater."

The Wintergatan Marble Machine looks like something from Animusic, except that it's not an animation.

Ellen's Bernie video

"Bag Of Hammers" by The Granite Countertops

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

You don't need me to show the way

Just for the record, there is no way I would support pulling Warren out of the Senate to fill the VP slot, and no way I'd support doing the same with Sanders if Clinton is the nominee. They have more power in the Senate where they can be useful than a Vice President has, and I'm sure there is someone else who can fill that position.

Nearly all the polls said Clinton had Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, although a couple of outliers suggested Sanders could take Missouri and was within breathing distance in Illinois and Ohio, but Clinton took them all. Results in Florida were right in line with polling predictions, coming in at 64.5%-33.3%. Much the same was true in Illinois with 50.5%-48.7%. In North Carolina, the result was exactly the RCP average of 54.6%-40.8%. Same again with Ohio's 56.5%-42.7% and with the razor-thin 49.6%-49.4% in Missouri. Uncanny, isn't it?

The next races on the schedule are Tuesday, 22 March, in American Samoa, Arizona, Utah, and the Idaho. Those will be followed Saturday the 26th by Democratic caucuses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington. Polling for these so far has been sparse, and Sanders has only looked good in Idaho, but some of these states haven't been polled since January, so we don't have much information yet.

"All Three Networks Ignored Bernie Sanders' Speech Tuesday Night, 'Standing By For Trump'," with the sole exception of C-Span, so you can still watch Bernie stumping.

FULL: CNN Democratic Town Hall, Ohio, March 13, 2016, Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton

"Bernie wins Democrats abroad primary 70% to 30% (bigger margin than Obama in '08): Democrats abroad are 'FeelingTheBern' strongly (nearly) everywhere: Bernie Sanders has won an overwhelming victory in the Democrats abroad primaries conducted in the week from March 1 to March 8. While it will take another week (March 21st) until official results will be released, it seems that Bernie has won an astonishing 70 percent of Democrats' abroad votes, winning the primaries in every country (with the lone exception of Singapore), exceeding Obama's 2008 - then big - margin of victory by another 8 points. Therefore It seems highly likely that Bernie Sanders will win 9 out of 13 pledged delegates, ensuring a 9 to 4 delegate split over Mrs. Clinton, thereby closing the overall delegate gap by 5 delegates."

"Ben Carson: I Didn't Want To Endorse Trump, But He Promised Me A Position." Leaving aside that this is the saddest endorsement ever and pretty embarrassing to have anyone guess at let alone admit in public, it's also kind of illegal: "Federal law expressly prohibits candidates from directly or indirectly promising 'the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy.' The penalty for violations could include fines or a year in jail - two years if the violation was willful. "

"Inside the Protest That Stopped the Trump Rally: The plan worked better than they'd ever imagined. Then the trouble began."

Clinton reached too far when trying to find something nice to say about Nancy Reagan. (Or did she? DLC types have been instrumental in rehabilitating Republicans since the 1980s, and sometimes I think they just can't say enough about how much more wonderful Republicans are than those pesky liberals.) So she said something "so profoundly untrue that it's hard not to laugh when you hear it" - and yet, to Amanda Marcotte, this is just evidence that Clinton needs to get better at shading the truth.
* David Atkins: "How Clinton's Reagan-AIDS Gaffe Helps Explain Why Populism Is Rising"
"Dear Hillary, Please Fire Robby Mook and John Podesta [...] And if she keeps up this tactic of trying to smear Sanders' voting record to portray him as a friend of conservative causes, it may have serious consequences for the general election."
* "The shameful Bernie race smear: Hillary supporters have played a dirty, dangerous game: The toxicity -- and falseness -- of the "Bernie so white" narrative is a real stain on Democrats and the left. [...] Relentlessly painting Sanders as only having white supporters will continue a dangerous practice of misinformation and cavalier smearing. It would make it seem that no minority voters like him, or don't believe or accept the actual substance of Sanders' plans, or believe in his policies galvanizing the masses to either make Republicans and 'Republican acting' Democrats vote for those policies or vote them out of office. And it would make it appear as if all minorities are chastising or eagerly humiliating Sanders and his supporters every chance they get, for legitimate or illegitimate reasons."

Audio: Bernie Sanders and Latino voters

"Hillary Clinton's backseat driver: The running commentary from one of the stewards of the Obama legacy gets deep under the campaign's skin." It seems lately David Axelrod feels that, as a journalist, he has to call it like he sees it.
* "Hillary will never survive the Trump onslaught: It's not fair, but it makes her a weak nominee [...] And yet: What did Clinton actually do in his eight years on Pennsylvania Avenue? While writing this book, I would periodically ask my liberal friends if they could recall the progressive laws he got passed, the high-minded policies he fought for - you know, the good things Bill Clinton got done while he was president. Why was it, I wondered, that we were supposed to think so highly of him - apart from his obvious personal charm, I mean? It proved difficult for my libs. [...] One of the strangest dramas of the Clinton literature, in retrospect, was the supposed mystery of Bill's developing political identity. Like a searching teenager in a coming-of-age movie, boy president Bill roams hither and yon, trying out this policy and that, until he finally learns to be true to himself and to worship at the shrine of consensus orthodoxy. He campaigned as a populist, he tried to lift the ban on gays in the military, then all of a sudden he's pushing free trade and deregulating telecom. Who was this guy, really? [...] Clinton's wandering political identity absorbed both his admirers and biographers, many of whom chose to explain it as a quest: Bill Clinton had to prove, to himself and the nation, that he was a genuine New Democrat. He had to grow into presidential maturity. And the way he had to do it was by damaging or somehow insulting traditional Democratic groups that represented the party's tradition of egalitarianism. Then we would know that the New Deal was truly dead. Then we could be sure."

Bell Hooks on why she no longer supports Hillary Clinton
* "Dick Cheney heaps praise on Hillary Clinton: Former US vice president Dick Cheney has praised Hillary Clinton as one of the more competent members of President Barack Obama's administration, saying it would be "interesting to speculate" on how she would perform as president."

"Hillary Questioned Bernie's Record on Health Care and The Internet Made an Epic Correction."

Pierce: "Rahm Emanuel's Disastrous Stint as Chicago Mayor Is Officially a Campaign Issue" - Strangely, Charlie left out the part where Rahm seems to played politics with a murder investigation.

This is actually in The New York Times: "Via Legislative Side Doors, Bernie Sanders Won Modest Victories [...] Over one 12-year stretch in the House, he passed more amendments by roll call vote than any other member of Congress. In the Senate, he secured money for dairy farmers and community health centers, blocked banks from hiring foreign workers and reined in the Federal Reserve, all through measures attached to larger bills.""
* Oh, but wait, Matt Taibbi says the NYT piece changed in the course of the day: "How the New York Times Sandbagged Bernie Sanders [...] Not so fast! As noted first in this piece on Medium ("Proof That the New York Times Isn't Feeling the Bern"), the paper swiftly made a series of significant corrections online. A new version of the piece came out later the same day, and in my mind, the corrections changed the overall message of the article."

Dave Johnson, "What's The Problem With 'Free Trade'?: "Our country's 'free trade' agreements have followed a framework of trading away our democracy and middle-class prosperity in exchange for letting the biggest corporations dominate. There are those who say any increase in trade is good. But if you close a factory here and lay off the workers, open the factory 'there' to make the same things the factory here used to make, bring those things into the country to sell in the same outlets, you have just 'increased trade' because now those goods cross a border. Supporters of free trade are having a harder and harder time convincing American workers this is good for them." One thing Dave leaves out is that our higher standards also helped push other countries' standards up because we refused to do business with some countries that didn't share those standards. "Free trade" pushed them down again - in our country.
* Ted Rall, "Forget Free Trade"

It seems that Thomas Frank is letting it all hang out in his new book, Listen Liberals, judging from this excerpt in Salon. "Bill Clinton's odious presidency: Thomas Frank on the real history of the '90s [...] Someday we will understand that the punitive hysteria of the mid-1990s was not an accident; it was essential to Clintonism. Taken as a whole with NAFTA, with welfare reform, with his plan for privatizing Social Security and, of course, with Clinton's celebrated lifting of the rules governing banks and telecoms, it all fits perfectly within the new, class-based framework of liberalism. Clinton simply treated different groups of Americans in radically different ways - crushing some in the iron fist of the state, exposing others to ruinous corporate power, while showering the favored stratum with bailouts, deregulation, and a frolicking celebration of Think Different business innovation. Some got bailouts, others got 'zero tolerance.' There was really no contradiction between these things. Lenience and forgiveness and joyous creativity for Wall Street bankers while another group gets a biblical-style beatdown - these things actually fit together quite nicely. Indeed, the ascendance of the first group requires that the second be lowered gradually into hell. When you take Clintonism all together, it makes sense, and the sense it makes has to do with social class. What the poor get is discipline; what the professionals get is endless indulgence."

David Neiwert on waving the bloody shirt and Trump rally violence.

David Dayen, "The Most Important 2016 Issue You Don't Know About: Antitrust regulation may sound dull. It's also the root of our economic evils. We've seen plenty of economic issues discussed in this presidential election: the proper level of financial regulation, the high cost of prescription drugs, the clustering of wealth at the very top. But all of these things, and many more, boil down to one problem: Practically every major American industry has become extremely concentrated, and this creeping monopolization has increased inequality, created economic hazards where they previously didn't exist, and heightened public anxiety. [...] Amazingly, Wednesday's hearing showed that antitrust policy is not a partisan issue. It's even become a point on the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have stressed greater antitrust enforcement and breaking up monopolies, and while not specifically talking antitrust, Donald Trump wants to inject competition into the drug industry. But the pressure from Congress is even more encouraging, because it could be all it takes to spur the agencies to do their job. And aggressively enforcing the antitrust laws would be one of the best ways to reinvigorate our economy."

"Campaign Donations Could Keep 'Carried Interest' Tax Loophole Open: New York legislators announced Monday they're introducing a bill to end a perk that lets financial executives pay a significantly lower tax rate than most Americans. Eliminating the so-called 'carried interest' loophole could generate $3.7 billion a year in revenue for the state of New York - but if the financial industry has its say, the movement there and similar measures in other states will face as tough a battle as it has in the nation's capital."

Dean Baker: "Raising Wages: What's Wrong With Ending Protection for Those on Top?

"Cashing in on Kids: 172 ALEC Education Bills Push Privatization in 2015: Despite widespread public opposition to the corporate-driven education privatization agenda, at least 172 measures reflecting American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bills were introduced in 42 states in 2015, according to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of and"

"The Mass-Market Edition of To Kill a Mockingbird Is Dead: Harper Lee's estate will no longer allow publication of the inexpensive paperback edition that was popular with schools."

"Cambridge university college cancels Jules Verne party as 'it may cause offence': Students from a Cambridge University college have cancelled a party themed on the Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days because wearing costumes in the style of another culture may cause offence."

I finally got around to reading the Mother Jones profile of Bernie Sanders that contains, among other things, his so-called "rape" essay from 1972. I was actually expecting him to have said something embarrassing in it, but he didn't, really. It's not about rape, or really even about rape fantasy - although his jump-off is that many people have rape fantasies (which is absolutely true) - so much as gender roles in which men are expected to dominate and women expected to submit (which he's clearly against). He basically says sexism robs both women and men of genuine love and knowledge of each other. Bearing in mind that at the time, pretty much no one had any analysis of bdsm, Bernie made a pretty game try. His language is unsophisticated, but the truth is that even today many feminists make the same equation between bdsm fantasy and gender roles (with more high-falutin' language). Nothing to be ashamed of, there, although I don't think the relationship between dominance fantasies and male roles, and submission fantasies and female roles, is as direct as many people assume.

If you can stand Facebook, this is one of those moments when Facebook lifts your heart.

Baby Elephants Who Want To Be Lap Dogs

Awkward Metal Band Photos

Russian media report on Fred Phelps' death. A couple of years old, of course, but I just saw it, and found it entertaining.

"My Back Pages" performed by diverse hands for Bob Dylan's 30th anniversary, featuring vocals by Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Dylan, and George Harrison.

Candi Staton "You Got The Love" live, 2008

Martha and the Vandellas, "You've Been In Love Too Long"

George Martin and The Beatles: The Making Of "Please Please Me"

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Some are gone, and some remain

The news is happening so fast I'm getting lost in it.

Primary schedule. Next races are Saturday the 12th (DC and Guam for Republicans, Northern Marinas for Democrats). The next states are on the 15th: Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Island (R), and Ohio - right now showing strong for Clinton.

FULL SPEECH : Univision Democratic Primary Debate Miami Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders Mar 9,16. The video of Sanders talking about Cuba and Ortega is probably something we'll be hearing about again, I'm sure the Republicans enjoyed it. It'll be tricky for him to make the sale on that stuff, for sure.
* AP fact check: Eye-popping claims about Sanders by Hillary.
* The Majority Report did a decent debate review on this. It sounds like the union people in Michigan were pretty aggravated by Clinton's claims about Bernie's vote on the auto industry bail-out, so who knows what she was thinking when she did it again? And the Koch brothers? Really? When she's the only one who's ever benefited from contributions from the Koch brothers (donors to the DLC)? Is it part of her strategy to just try to aggravate him by smearing him until he gets upset and shakes his finger so her supporters can wail about how sexist he is? (Because she is such a helpless, wilting flower that she needs to be protected from the mean old man?)
* In an interesting role-reversal, "Hillary spoke 32% longer, moderators interrupted Bernie 150% more."
* Pierce: "Bernie Sanders Said Something We Weren't Ready to Hear Last Night. It's also something that could easily be ratfcked by the Republicans: Well, at least I lived long enough to hear a presidential candidate from one of the major parties refer to 'the so-called Monroe Doctrine.'" The Republicans? Hillary started on it right there.

Video: "Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders Address at Puerto Cabezas Sister City Program: At the invitation of the Nicaraguan government, Sanders participates in the 7th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution, visits the Atlantic coast and initiates a sister-city program with Puerto Cabezas on July 10, 1985."
* 2016: Sanders: 'Democracy is not a spectator sport'.

"The real reason Bernie and Hillary supporters can't seem to get along" - Except this sounds more like a neoliberal's story about the difference between Clinton and Sanders. I don't recall hearing Bernie say anything about "equality of outcomes" - do you? And I haven't heard Hillary Clinton suggest doing anything that will "incrementally" improve things for women and people of color in our lifetimes.

I found watching the Democratic debate in Flint excruciating. It started off well enough, with Bernie hitting hard, but there were moments that made me cringe with missed opportunities and missteps. When Clinton falsely claimed that Sanders had voted against saving the auto industry, he needed to make it clearer that he had actually voted for it, not against it. (I'm sure she knew it.) And when asked about personal experience in his past that made racism matter to him, he needed to be personal. He grew up Jewish in the shadow of the Third Reich at a time when little kids in America still got beat up for being Christ-killers, and it had to inform his thinking even if he never got beaten up himself, He shouldn't have had a problem bringing those experiences together. And though I knew from context what he meant, I cringed when he said, "You don't know what it's like to be poor." I knew it wasn't what he meant, but that line could be fatal. I do think he needs to be more prepared to call Clinton on her smears and lies and be sharper about it, too. He's still afraid to punch, despite his strong opening. Yes, he was more combative, but it was like he didn't realize yet what kind of a fight he was in. Well, the kind of fight that when Clinton lies, her supporters accuse him of sexism when he tries to correct the record.

March 8th: "Washington Post Ran 16 Negative Stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 Hours [...] All of these posts paint his candidacy in a negative light, mainly by advancing the narrative that he's a clueless white man incapable of winning over people of color or speaking to women. Even the one article about Sanders beating Trump implies this is somehow a surprise - despite the fact that Sanders consistently out-polls Hillary Clinton against the New York businessman." But it's all okay, because the WaPo investigated themselves and decided they were not guilty.
* This is interesting. If you look at the URL, you can see the original title of this story was "Sanders would be better against Trump than Clinton," but that's not what you see when you click through to The Hill.
* "Hillary really could lose to Trump: Her weakness with the working class is Trump's strength": Clinton will have a hard time winning over voters fed up with corporate-friendly trade deals."

Super Saturday saw Clinton getting a big win in Louisiana - as predicted - and Sanders having a blow-out win in Kansas (67.7-32.2) and taking Nebraska (57.1-42.9).
* The Young Turks on SUPER Biased Super Saturday Headlines From Mainstream Media when Kansas disappears from coverage.
* Sanders won Maine (64.3-35.5) in what was reported to be a huge turn-out.
* Big upset in Michigan: Nate Silver was tipping Clinton to win at 99-1, and the most recent polling showed her ahead 13 points (Monmouth) and 27 points (Fox), but Sanders took the state 49.9%-48.2%. "At a party for Clinton supporters in Detroit, many were shocked as results began to flood in - especially as just a day earlier their candidate had effectively called on Sanders to drop out and 'end the primary'."
* On the other side of the ledger, Clinton was polling at 65-11 against Sanders in Louisianabut she took 71.1% against Bernie's 23.2%.
* A lesson for supporters from a comment at the Guardian from Mark Thomason: "We did our part here in Michigan. It was a lot of work by a lot of people to upset a 20 point projection. It was door to door by young black women and Senior Center talks by elderly white women that overturned the assumptions of Hillary's strengths. It could not have happened without that. The entire margin was 18,500 votes out of 1.1 million. The same margin of black voters Hillary had in the South in just Wayne County would have been enough to change the outcome. She got just 60% in Wayne County. This outcome was not one group overpowering another. It was all of us.
* FiveThirtyEight: "What The Stunning Bernie Sanders Win In Michigan Means"

Marcy Kaptur, the "Longest-serving woman in the House makes her case for Bernie Sanders."

Although predictions leading up to Super Tuesday projected Bernie Sanders to lose all but perhaps two states, the media and the Clinton camp started talking like the primaries were all over and done despite the fact that he won four of them and outperformed projections even in several of the states he lost. Given the trends, the likelihood appears to be that he might have won Massachusetts given an additional week, but he surprised everyone by taking Colorado (58.9-40.4), Oklahoma (51.9-41.5), and Minnesota (61.7-38.3). There were no surprises in Vermont, of course, where Sanders won with 86.2% of the vote. Clinton is now way ahead of Sanders in delegate count, but some of the biggest states are still to come and Sanders still has a good chance to take them. Clinton's wins Tuesday were largely in states Democrats are expected to lose in the general.
* Trump won most of the primary states, but Rubio took Minnesota and Cruz took Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Current polling still shows Sanders beating all three of them easily in the general, with Clinton only beating Trump.
* Did thousands of Massachusetts Democrats really leave the party to support Trump?
* "Latino Vote Helps Bernie Sanders Surge to Victory in Colorado in Massive Democratic Caucus Turnout" - So, maybe all that hocus pocus about how Latinos couldn't really have voted for Sanders in Nevada was just wishful thinking after all.
* "How Hillary Clinton's Super Tuesday 'Win' Relied on Dismal Voter Turnout"
* I'd like to see more about this, but my default position is that when exit polls disagree with voting results, something is probably amiss.

The Political Compass for the current bunch of candidates. Unfortunately, there's too much missing from this chart to account for both the similarities and divergences between candidates, but there was always that problem.

Some Democrats are fearful that not electing a "safe", establishment candidate could lead to a repetition of 1972. But what if the year they should really take a lesson from has been 1968? That was the year the Democratic establishment imposed the "safe" candidate - Hubert Humphrey: "When the Democrats met in Chicago late in the summer of 1968, the field had been tragically narrowed two and a half months earlier with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. Only two candidates remained, Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy. Humphrey had not won a single primary. Indeed, his primary total was a minuscule 161,143 votes. But he controlled the most delegates. By contrast, McCarthy had received 2,914,933 primary votes, almost 20 times the number that Humphrey could claim. Yet, by the time the balloons had settled onto the convention floor, a Democratic Party controlled by machine politicians and union leaders had chosen Hubert Humphrey as the Democratic nominee." That didn't work out too well, did it?

"Meet the fossil-fuel loving hedge fund billionaire behind Hillary's surge"
* This is from last October, and it's Jack Schafer, but he's right: "The Hole in Hillary's Flip-Flop Excuse: She keeps saying new information makes her change her mind on policy. But what new information?"
* Corey Robin says when Clinton tells the truth, believe her: "Amid all the accusations that Hillary Clinton is not an honest or authentic politician, that she's an endless shape-shifter who says whatever works to get her to the next primary, it's important not to lose sight of the one truth she's been telling, and will continue to tell, the voters: things will not get better. Ever. At first, I thought this was just an electoral ploy against Sanders: don't listen to the guy promising the moon. No such thing as a free lunch and all that. But it goes deeper. The American ruling class has been trying to figure out for years, if not decades, how to manage decline, how to get Americans to get used to diminished expectations, how to adapt to the notion that life for the next generation will be worse than for the previous generation, and now, how to accept (as Alex Gourevitch reminded me tonight) low to zero growth rates as the new economic normal. Clinton's campaign message isn't just for Bernie voters; it's for everyone. Expect little, deserve less, ask for nothing. When the leading candidate of the more left of the two parties is saying that - and getting the majority of its voters to embrace that message - the work of the American ruling class is done."
* Clinton's strategy promotes right-wing memes to beat Bernie, Part 12
* "Hillary's State Department Pressured Haiti Not To Raise Minimum Wage to $.61 An Hour."

"Hillary Clinton Said Outsourcing 'Benefited' America After She Criticized Bush Officials For Saying The Same Thing."
* "The Clinton-Backed Honduran Regime Is Picking Off Indigenous Leaders: The names of Berta Cáceres's murderers are yet unknown. But we know who killed her. Hillary Clinton will be good for women. Ask Berta Cáceres. But you can't. She's dead. Gunned down yesterday, March 2, at midnight, in her hometown of La Esperanza, Intibuca, in Honduras. Cáceres was a vocal and brave indigenous leader, an opponent of the 2009 Honduran coup that Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, made possible."
* After all that Obama-hugging last week, "Hillary Blames Obama: His Syrian 'Failure' Led To Rise Of ISIS."
* It's not so much that Bernie Sanders is wonderful, it's that nominating Hillary Clinton is likely to encourage the growth of fascism. Chris Hedges, "The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism: College-educated elites, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor. Now they are being made to pay. Their duplicity - embodied in politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - succeeded for decades. These elites, many from East Coast Ivy League schools, spoke the language of values - civility, inclusivity, a condemnation of overt racism and bigotry, a concern for the middle class - while thrusting a knife into the back of the underclass for their corporate masters. This game has ended. There are tens of millions of Americans, especially lower-class whites, rightfully enraged at what has been done to them, their families and their communities. They have risen up to reject the neoliberal policies and political correctness imposed on them by college-educated elites from both political parties: Lower-class whites are embracing an American fascism.
* Marcy Wheeler: "Hillary Is Now Picking and Choosing Which Obama Accomplishments to Take Credit For: According to Hillary Clinton's latest campaign ploy, she deserves credit for domestic policies passed under Obama - notably, ObamaCare - but not issues - in this case, trade deals - she negotiated as Secretary of State.""
* "Even critics understate how catastrophically bad the Hillary Clinton-led NATO bombing of Libya was: The NY Times reports on Clinton's war leadership don't go far enough. Hillary's disaster in Libya should haunt her."
* The real scandal about Clinton's emails isn't that she had her own server or committed any crime by having it, it's what they reveal about her policies.
* In 2003, everyone knew there was no reason to invade Iraq, including Hillary Clinton.

"Former Massachusetts Democratic Chair: Bernie Sanders 'speaking the truth to the American people'"
* "I've Never Seen a Presidential Candidate Talk About Spirituality as Beautifully as Bernie" - This link is worth clicking just for the graphic.
* Is Bernie losing the photo-staging war? I know the Clinton campaign likes to pretend she owns all of the People of Color vote, and her campaign started off with the "He doesn't connect with minorities" meme long before there was any evidence of whether he did or didn't, and she's certainly kept pounding it, along with her media courtiers, despite the fact that this doesn't at all appear to be true in the Asian and Latino communities. She definitely locked up the black establishment very quickly, although there are certainly many younger black voters (and much of the black political left, right on down to original Black Panthers), who see Bernie as the only choice. But it's curious that Sanders' aversion to pandering is so severe that he hasn't managed to promote a few photos of those many black, Asian, and Hispanic supporters gathered around him the way Clinton always seems to manage to do. He's got more than black celebrities behind him and plenty of younger black kids on his side, so it wouldn't hurt to get them into the photos more often.

What is it like to work with Bernie Sanders? [...] In short, What was it like to work with Senator Sanders in the capacity that I had? It was great, and I can't speak highly enough of him. He and his office were never less than professional, there was never a sense that they were rushing to judgment, and I could always expect that they'd treat whatever information we provided them with fairness. It was very rare in my line of work to come across a team like the one he put together and then led by example. If everyone in Congress had an ethic like his - even if not the philosophy - I think we'd have a much better political climate."

Gaius Publius liked something I wrote elsewhere, so he made a post out of it: "The Goal of the Neo-Liberal Consensus Is to Manage the Decline."

"Export-Import Bank Debate Puts Sanders at Odds With Senate Democrats: When Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders' campaign blasted fellow candidate Hillary Clinton this weekend for her support for the Export-Import Bank, it was highlighting an issue on which he stood alone among Senate Democratic caucus members. 'The Export-Import Bank provides corporate welfare to some of the largest multi-national corporations that are moving jobs to China and stashing their profits in tax havens like the Cayman Islands,' policy director Warren Gunnels said in a statement issued ahead of a Democratic debate in Flint, Mich. Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats, was the lone member of the caucus to vote against reauthorizing the export financing agency when it came up for votes last year, including on the tests vote in late July that proved a bipartisan group of more than 60 senators supported the underlying reauthorization."

Why Is DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Co-Sponsoring a Bill to Help Predatory Payday Lenders?
* Pierce: "It's Time for DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Ride Off into the Sunset."

"Michigan mayor says he was nearly kicked out of Dem debate."

Mitt Romney endorses Hillary Clinton in Democratic Primary.

"U.S. hedge fund managers pour money into 2016 race and Trump is a factor: Major U.S. hedge fund managers are on pace this year to more than double the amount they gave in the 2012 election campaign, with independent fundraising groups backing Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and Republican rival Ted Cruz receiving the most so far.

Peter Beinart completely loses his mind. Seriously, he supports Clinton, but he thinks Dems should switch over if they can so they can vote against Trump, and for Marco Rubio. No matter how you look at this, it makes no sense. Trump's saving grace as the GOP candidate is that most people can't stand him. But after watching Trump's circus act for months, a lot of people are too dazzled to notice how horrible Rubio is and they will imagine that he's more "reasonable" and they may find him easier to vote for. And given Beinart's support for Clinton, you'd think he'd prefer the GOP candidate to be the only one polls show Clinton likely to beat.Those polls have been too consistent for too long now to completely write them off; they show Sanders leading Cruz and Rubio comfortably while Clinton loses to them. Of course, her spread against Trump isn't so good, either, showing as low as only 1% (or less, at one point), but Sanders beating him comfortably. And before you sneeze at those polls, bear in mind that a significant number of Democrats really don't like Clinton. Of course, if Trump keeps running to the left, and Clinton keeps telling everyone she's not going to change things, Trump may just be the one to beat her after all. Maybe that's what Beinart is really afraid of.
* But Tad Devine has also lost his mind: "Sanders Campaign Strategist Suggests a Clinton-Sanders Ticket" - You don't start talking this way unless you're already giving up, but it's dumber than that, because Bernie is worth a whole lot more in the Senate than as VP, where he will have no power. Whatever happens in November, we still need Sanders in the Senate. I really do want to slap people who keep suggesting that our most valuable Senators give up their seats for a position that's worth very little.

Kevin Drum seems to have forgotten to drink his Kool-Aid: "On Second Thought, Maybe Bernie Sanders' Growth Claims Aren't As Crazy As I Thought."

As usual, the Republicans are in turmoil, waiting for the neoliberals to save them, no doubt. Right now their big worry is that they've exposed what they are and it's making conservatives introspect, which to them is a bad thing. They say scary things: "'It's scary,' South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has endorsed Rubio, said on ABC's 'This Week.' She added: 'I think what he'll do to the Republican Party is really make us question who we are and what we're about. And that's something we don't want to see happen.'" But it's a bit late to worry about things like that when more than one Republican is waking up: "I'm a lifelong Republican but Trump surge proves that every bad thing Democrats have ever said about GOP is basically true."

"Watch a Democratic Senator Explain Donald Trump To Janet Yellen [..] 1.The Senator feels like he got the ol' bait-and-switch when he was convinced to support the Export-Import Bank - a controversial government fund that helps corporations make deals and reap profits. Its critics called it crony capitalism, but big government contractors like Boeing played hardball with members of Congress by threatening to shut down manufacturing here and, therefore, eliminate jobs if their private little (taxpayer-funded) slush fund was not refilled. Sen. Donnelly used it as a case-in-point to illustrate how the wider economic agenda is built on a bait-and-switch that promises good jobs and white picket fences if the 'business climate' is improved with tax breaks, slush funds and deregulation, but always ends up moving capital away from American labor and shifting profits into offshore tax havens." It's unfortunate that he got sidetracked on monetary policy, because all this is the result of political decisions, and Yellen's answer was just the usual voodoo about how stuff is happening as if it simply has to.
* "Trump Taps Into Economic Anxiety Resulting From 'Free Trade'"
* "Donald Trump: The Protector: He will make you safe. He will give you health care. He will give you jobs. He will build a wall. Protecting you is his prime directive."
* George Lakeoff: "Why Trump?
* "Trump Supporters Aren't Stupid: America incentivizes racism in working class white people, and if we fail to understand this, we will fail to fix it."
* Thomas Franks's latest is, "Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here's why, and it isn't just a slew of insults about bigotry. It also contains this sentence: "The views of working-class people are so foreign to that universe that when New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wanted to 'engage' a Trump supporter last week, he made one up, along with this imaginary person's responses to his questions."

"Jim Webb: I could vote for Trump, but not Hillary: It's nothing personal about Hillary Clinton, but the reason Donald Trump is getting so much support right now is not because of the, you know, 'racists,' etc. and etc.,' Webb said. 'It's because a certain group of people are seeing him as the only one who has the courage to say, 'We've got to clean out the stables of the American governmental system right now.' If you're voting for Donald Trump, you might be getting something very good or very bad. If you're voting for Hillary Clinton, you're going to get the same thing. Do you want the same thing?'" Make no mistake, Jim Webb is no one's hero and his tenure as a Democrat was brief. But he he's right about one thing: Hillary Clinton is promising more of the same thing that's ailing us.

Blast from the past from the much-missed Molly Ivins: "I will not support Hillary Clinton for president: The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief."

I wish I could believe this headline: "The Democratic Primaries Have One Clear Loser: Third Way Centrism." I don't see how he justifies that claim. He sets up his definition of the Third Way candidate he says we don't have in this race and then say we don't have that candidate running this time - or, well, we did, but that was Webb and he got the hook early - but that sort of overlooks the elephant in the room named Hillary Clinton, who started off negotiating down on the minimum wage and whose entire campaign is based on the idea that thinking big is silly fantasy and things can't be made better than they are now. I guess we're going to see more of this from the Roosevelt Institute if they are going to keep taking Pete Peterson's money, but it would have been nice to have an actual Roosevelt Institute pointing out the dangers of the Third Way candidate who happens to be the frontrunner.

"Government may soon begin putting an end to forced arbitration clauses [...] Democratic lawmakers recently introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate called the Restoring Statutory Rights and Interests of the States Act. It would forbid companies from making customers waive their right to sue or join a class-action lawsuit." It would be nice if this were to happen, it's an outrage that companies are using this dodge to circumvent the law.

Charlie Savage and Scott Shane: "Political Talk on Guantánamo Veers From Facts: Even by the standards of an epically polarized Washington, the political talk about President Obama's effort to close the Guantánamo Bay prison is starkly divorced from facts. On both sides of the debate, many claims collapse under scrutiny."

Bobby Kennedy on "Why the Arabs Don't Want Us in Syria: They don't hate 'our freedoms.' They hate that we've betrayed our ideals in their own countries - for oil." But this is a history lesson, not just a rant.

Mark Fiore cartoon: "Voter Fraud Vigilantes"

Stephen Hawking: "If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality."

"Scalia was an intellectual phony: Can we please stop calling him a brilliant jurist? [...] For the truth is that, far more than the average judge, Scalia had no real fidelity to the legal principles he claimed were synonymous with a faithful interpretation of the law. Over and over during Scalia's three decades on the Supreme Court, if one of his cherished interpretive principles got in the way of his political preferences, that principle got thrown overboard in a New York minute."

"Legalizing Weed Has Done What 1 Trillion Dollars and a 40 Year War Couldn't: The $1 trillion War on Drugs launched by President Nixon in 1971 created the Mexican drug cartels, now legalizing weed is killing them."

Can a 3-year old represent herself in immigration court? This judge thinks so: A senior Justice Department official is arguing that 3- and 4-year-olds can learn immigration law well enough to represent themselves in court, staking out an unconventional position in a growing debate over whether immigrant children facing deportation are entitled to taxpayer-funded attorneys." Jeez, I wonder how old you have to be to be a judge...

"Federal Court Rules You Have No Constitutional Right to Engage in 100% Consensual Rough Sex: The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia released its decision in the case of Doe v. George Mason University et al. and, for some reason, they felt compelled to weigh in on whether there is a constitutional right to engage in consensual BDSM sex. Their answer is, 'no.'"

Whit Diffie and Martin Hellman win the Turing Award.

It's about time! Marvin Gaye To Be Inducted In Songwriters Hall Of Fame: "Marvin Gaye, Elvis Costello,Tom Petty, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards from CHIC, and Chip Taylor will be the latest inductees to the Songwriters Hall of Fame."

Ghostbusters: first trailer for all-female reboot arrives

"Donald Trump Gets AIDS In A New Movie, And That Has Studio Execs In A Panic: Afraid of Trump's reaction, they're 'subtly trying to make it disappear,' says an industry source. Audiences at screenings around the world, and some even in the United States, have been cheering and applauding a macabre scene in a new film by Sacha Baron Cohen in which "Donald Trump" accidentally contracts HIV."

"If You Can Get Past Karrine Steffans Calling Oprah And Maya Angelou Hoes, She Actually Has A Point About Women And Sexuality [...] "You don't have to like or even appreciate what Karrine Steffans exemplifies, but she is right when she says a woman's sexual past doesn't determine her worth and purpose. And, like Amber Rose, her voice on this subject exposes many of our hypocrisies because we like to declare a woman can have agency over her body up until that freedom becomes unabashedly sexy and maybe even promiscuous - though there's a wide variation on what many consider such behavior - and then we fall into crass slut-shaming judgement as well."

Nobody could have predicted...

3-D printed steampunk guitar

Neil Rest says this isn't the future he signed up for, but how would I have known about it without him? Worlds First Pancake Printer: PancakeBot
Okay, hungry now.

Among the many things I did not know before YouTube, Tom Jones and Janis Joplin in a duet of "Raise Your Hand".

Aryeh and Gil Gat The Amazing Rabbis, live in Jerusalem, "Wish You Were Here"

I've never regarded the Temptation's performance of this song as a cover, because I know it was written for David Ruffin's voice, and to me it's still the definitive version. But Smokey wrote it, and this is how "My Girl" sounds by the Miracles.

RIP: George Martin, Producer and Arranger for The Beatles, Dies at 90.
- Rolling Stone: "Over the decades, many people have claimed to be the 'fifth Beatle.' But the only person who can credibly hold that title was Martin. The producer not only signed the Beatles to their first record contract in 1962 but went on to work extensively with them on the vast majority of music they recorded over the next eight years, from 'Love Me Do' to the majestic suite that wrapped up Abbey Road."
* Keith Emerson, Emerson, Lake and Palmer Keyboardist, Dead at 71.

"In My Life" - with George Martin on piano.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

This could be the last time

"Hillary Clinton Wins Big In South Carolina Primary [...] But the South Carolina black community's longstanding support for the Clinton family ultimately prevailed. The win is also a significant comeback for Clinton, who lost to President Obama in South Carolina in 2008 by 28 points. According to ABC News' exit polls, 70 percent of voters this year said the next president should continue Obama's policies rather than change to more or less liberal policies." Clinton 73.5%, Sanders 26% (39 delegates to 14).
* "With All Eyes On Trump, Clinton Is Winning The Democratic Nomination: In South Carolina today, Hillary Clinton scored her biggest victory yet in the Democratic presidential primary. She beat Bernie Sanders by what looks to be at least 30 percentage points, according to exit polls, thanks to overwhelming support from African-Americans. As the race heads into Super Tuesday, Clinton has clear momentum: She has big leads in many of the 12 contests that will take place, according to the polls. According to the South Carolina exit poll, Sanders lost black voters 16 percent to 84 percent. That doomed him in a contest in which 62 percent of voters were black. If white voters were more supportive of his candidacy, Sanders might have been able to keep the race closer. But they split 58 percent for Sanders to 42 percent for Clinton. That's simply not good enough to overcome Clinton's advantage among black voters."

But Nate Silver doesn't think the media narrative is the last word: "Bernie Sanders Doesn't Need Momentum - He Needs To Win These States: The media narrative of the Democratic presidential race is that Bernie Sanders has lost momentum to Hillary Clinton. After nearly beating Clinton in Iowa and then crushing her in New Hampshire, Sanders had a setback on Saturday, the story goes, losing Nevada to Clinton by 5 percentage points. And this weekend, Sanders is about to lose South Carolina and lose it badly. All of this is true insofar as it goes. But it doesn't do nearly enough to account for the demographic differences between the states. Considering the state's demographics, Sanders's 5-point loss in Nevada was probably more impressive than his photo-finish in Iowa. It was possibly even a more impressive result than his 22-point romp in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, a big loss in South Carolina would be relatively easy to forgive. That doesn't mean Sanders is in great shape, however. Based on the polling so far, Sanders is coming up short of where he needs to be in most Super Tuesday (March 1) states, along with major industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania where he'll need to run neck and neck with Clinton later on."
* And Glen Ford doesn't see much room for movement where it seems to count the most: "The Bogus Power of the Black Vote Within the Confines of the Democratic Party [...] But Bernie Sanders, whose domestic politics is a much closer fit with the historical and current Black world view, is not losing to Hillary because of his positions on the issues, or because Blacks trust in Clinton's honesty and integrity (huge numbers don't, in every demographic). It is also no longer the case that most Blacks are unfamiliar with Sanders' platform. African Americans are, by some measures, more tuned in to the 'news' than whites (although Blacks trust the media less). But they tune Sanders out, because their main purpose for voting in national elections is to keep the White Man's Party, the Republicans, out of the White House, and believe Clinton has a better shot. Almost everything else is bullshit."

Writing the epitaph of the Sanders campaign may not be a wise move for the Dems if they want some kind of a future - and there are still plenty of delegates to pick up in California, too.

"The Exposure of the Vast Left-wing Establishment [...] Let's be clear, I am not saying as a black man originally from the South that I did not understand long ago that American society was definitely tilted in favor of whites, men, straights, the wealthy, the attractive and Christians for example. The reality of the privilege inherent to those groups has always been obvious. But I guess this year, as I have watched the way the entire system has piled on I have come to realize in a much deeper way that those in power, even those with a little bit of power, will do everything they can to maintain the system. Of course we all know this was and is the reality when we are talking about the 1 percent who own and control mostly everything there is in our society. And we always knew the political ruling class would do what they could to stay on the side of power, including conspiring with the 1 percent when necessary, by taking their money and doing their bidding in order to curry favor. So there were no surprises there. But what jolted me the most from my previous misunderstanding about how powerful the whole system is and how wide it stretched was in not fully accepting the fact that even those on the Left could be part of that rigged system. Of course seeing it now it is obvious. Those in power, even when the power is on a side I support, will support actions that maintain power. The idea of an "establishment" in the women's movement, in the black and Hispanic communities, in the "liberal media," in the Left in general, is not one we typically think of. But that establishment is very real. And has it ever raised its ugly head during this primary season.

"The Establishment vs. Bernie Sanders: "Say what you will about this strange election season, but at least it's been a lesson in clarity. The citizenry are at last getting an unobstructed view of the ugly, powerful forces destroying their republic. And if the view isn't pretty, at least we now know where we stand. Which, though, is more instructively shocking--the fact that the Republican front-runner is Donald Trump, or the fact that the liberal political establishment--and yes, Virginia, there is an establishment, big time--is doing everything it can to throw the Democratic Party's most exciting reform candidate in years under Hillary Clinton's campaign bus? [...] Thus it came to pass that Sanders, whose voting record in the Senate on behalf of civil rights, gay rights, and women's rights has been flawless--for years he has received an approval rating of 95-100 percent from the National Organization of Women, the NAACP, and the Human Rights Campaign--was "exposed" as a sexist and maybe even crypto-racist. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, former supporter of her husband Bill's racist demolition of the social welfare safety net for millions of working class and poor families in the 1990s, was being lionized as a leader in civil rights. Not for nothing has the Democratic Party spent decades cultivating a national patronage system, treating black and Latino Americans chiefly as a demographic bulwark against Republican encroachment. Now the chits are being dialed in. The very ferocity and coordinated nature of the attacks on Sanders makes clear that the Democratic establishment views Sanders not merely as an annoyance, but as an existential threat. And he may be, at that." The details really are sickening.

How Harry Reid won Nevada for Hillary. He was supposed to be neutral, but he still knows where to pull the strings.
* "The Race to Lose the White House" - Just how many times can Democrats get into office and fight for the other side before it's Game Over?

The Bernie Sanders action figure

The Oscars happened. The Big Short won Best Adapted Screenplay and when Adam McKay picked up his award, he said, "if you don't want big money to control government, don't vote for candidates who take money from big banks, oil, or weirdo billionaires - stop."

Marcy Wheeler says, "Hillary Clinton's foreign policy is pure fantasy: Clinton talks of possibly decades-long occupations and orderly regime changes, yet somehow Sanders is the fantasist: Meanwhile, while Bernie Sanders may be recommending the U.S. adopt domestic policies that match those of our Canadian and European counterparts, thus far he has mentioned nothing about 60-year military deployments. Moreover, unlike Sanders, Clinton has not even called for taxes to pay for what would be a costly endeavor - unless her reference in this exchange to Libya's oil means she hopes to be more successful billing Libya for defense than the U.S. has been with Iraq. Such is the nature of our politics that Sanders can be attacked as a fantasist for daring to aspire to live as well as Europeans, while 60-year military deployments get treated as magic ponies that cost nothing. Perhaps it is considered bad economics to make this suggestion. But it seems like a smart way to pay for universal health care for all Americans is to stop getting into 60-year military deployments around the world?"
* With experience like this - "Despite being an icon for many liberals and an anathema to the Republican right, former US Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's positions on the Middle East have more closely resembled those of the latter than the former. Her hawkish views go well beyond her strident support for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent occupation and counter-insurgency war. From Afghanistan to Western Sahara, she has advocated for military solutions to complex political problems, backed authoritarian allies and occupying armies, dismissed war crimes, and opposed political involvement by the United Nations and its agencies."
* The Nation: "A Sanders Foreign-Policy Doctrine? How About 'No Wars for the Billionaire Class'?"

Poverty Press Conference in South Carolina | Bernie Sanders

DNC Vice-Chair Resigns, Throws Support Behind Bernie Sanders: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii announced Sunday that she will resign as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee and endorse Bernie Sanders for president. 'I think it's most important for us, as we look at our choices as to who our next commander in chief will be, is to recognize the necessity to have a commander in chief who has foresight, who exercises good judgment,' Gabbard said on MSNBC's Meet the Press." But, wait - this woman is supporting Bernie Sanders because of his foreign policy approach? It doesn't make sense.

Blacks in Law Enforcement of America supports Bernie Sanders for Democratic Presidential Primary: "In keeping with our mission, it is with great pride that Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, a national organization of Black Law Enforcement Professionals, will support U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on his run to be the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States of America."

Trade Officials Promised Exxon That U.S.-EU Pact Would Erase Environmental 'Obstacles' Worldwide

Do you realize Donald Trump is the only candidate saying he will impose a tariff? Ian Welsh: "Trump Says He Would Put a 35 Percent Tax on Goods from Mexico: That would be illegal under NAFTA, and long odds under the WTO. Certainly under TPP, if it's in force then. Someone should straight up ask Trump if he's willing to leave those treaties. If he is, and the Dem candidate is not, he will win the election. Once more, Trump is a nativist populist. If he wasn't so racist and for torture, I'd be pushing him hard. As it is, he's beyond the pale, but a lot of working and middle class folks aren't going to give a damn."

In The Washington Post, a right-wing neocon monster endorses Clinton, more-or-less: "Trump is the GOP's Frankenstein monster. Now he's strong enough to destroy the party," writes Robert Kagan, who concludes: "So what to do now? The Republicans' creation will soon be let loose on the land, leaving to others the job the party failed to carry out. For this former Republican, and perhaps for others, the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be."
* In The New York Times, "The Next Act of the Neocons: Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton? [...] It's not as outlandish as it may sound. Consider the historian Robert Kagan, the author of a recent, roundly praised article in The New Republic that amounted to a neo-neocon manifesto. He has not only avoided the vitriolic tone that has afflicted some of his intellectual brethren but also co-founded an influential bipartisan advisory group during Mrs. Clinton's time at the State Department."

Pruning Shears says, "Hard does not mean impossible [...] But anyway, Clinton's proposal is in the end just another illusion, right? Krugman's rather cynical subtext is that nothing can change so you may as well make peace with the way things are. Unicorns are everywhere, none of it is real, the best you can do is settle for the candidate offering the least outlandish lies. Here's the thing though. Every last goddamn decent and humane thing America has ever done started out as a unicorn. And then enough people noticed it was really a horse with a papier-mâché horn."

"Wall Street's political shakedown: We'll stop funding Dems if Elizabeth Warren won't sit down and shut up: Top banks consider cutting off Dems if the party won't rein in party progressives." So, bribery and extortion, then. Arrest them.
* Liz Warren doesn't plan to back down: "They want a showy way to tell Democrats across the country to be scared of speaking out, to be timid about standing up, and to stay away from fighting for what's right.... I'm not going to stop talking about the unprecedented grasp that Citigroup has on our government's economic policymaking apparatus ... And I'm not going to pretend the work of financial reform is done, when the so-called 'too big to fail' banks are even bigger now than they were in 2008."

"Note To Steve Israel And Chuck Schumer: The Word Progressive Actually Has A Meaning [...] Israel is now Pelosi's head of House Democratic messaging and he, along with other unscrupulous DC party bosses, have admitted they want to entice Bernie's grassroots supporters into contributing to candidates like Ashford and the other garbage candidates who the DCCC-- like "former" Republicans Monica Vernon in Iowa, Mike Parrish in Pennsylvania and Mike Derrick in New York-- and DSCC-- "former" Republican Patrick Murphy-- recruit on a regular basis. It's especially galling to watch these conservatives using the word "progressive" to describe themselves during primary season. It's linguistic fraud. It isn't popular in Democratic primaries for a candidate to run as a conservative even if that's what they are. Steve Israel, who hates progressives far more than he hates Republicans, encourages even the most conservative Democrats stuck in a primary battle to make the word meaningless by using it over and over and over until voters are confused or even turned off. It's what conservative Democrats did to the word "liberal." Yesterday and the day before I got letters from the frantic and desperate Patrick Murphy campaign-- horrified that Alan Grayson's polling lead in the Florida primary has continued to grow-- asserting that Murphy is a progressive. Patrick Murphy-- the one who has one of the most right-wing, anti-working family voting records of any Democrat in Congress? Who voted for the Keystone XL Pipeline half a dozen times? Who voted to create the Benghazi witch-hunt Committee to destroy Hillary Clinton? Who voted for oil drilling off Florida's pristine beaches? Who has worked in the House Financial Services Committee on behalf of his Wall Street financiers to undermine and sabotage Dodd-Frank? Yes, that Patrick Murphy. He actually tried making the case that he's a progressive and Alan Grayson isn't! Chuck Schumer told him it would be good politics. They even dragged poor, old, increasingly senile Harry Reid into it! I noticed the other day when Chris Matthews' conservative lobbyist wife endorsed Wall Street-friendly establishment Democrat Chris Van Hollen for Senate against progressive icon Donna Edwards, she (Kathleen Matthews) kept referring to herself as a "progressive." But she isn't a progressive. She's an upper class conservative who's pro-Choice. Progressives are tribunes for working families. Democrats like Kathleen Matthews have contact with working families when they hire them as servants."

Glenn Greenwald: "With Donald Trump Looming, Should Dems Take a Huge Electability Gamble by Nominating Hillary Clinton?: Many Democrats will tell you that there has rarely, if ever, been a more menacing or evil presidential candidate than Donald Trump. 'Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory,' pronounced Vox's Ezra Klein two weeks ago. With a consensus now emerging that the real estate mogul is the likely GOP nominee, it would stand to reason that the most important factor for many Democrats in choosing their own nominee is electability: meaning, who has the best chance of defeating the GOP Satan in the general election? In light of that, can Democrats really afford to take such a risky gamble by nominating Hillary Clinton?"

"Why Bernie Can Win: The pundits are wrong. Bernie Sanders is the most electable candidate this November. Her forthright opposition to the Sanders agenda has won Clinton praise from some liberal elites, unable to disguise their hostility toward even the most basic social-democratic reforms. Yet unfortunately for Clinton, most actual Americans do not inhabit the pundit class, and their professional credentials do not depend on gravely denying the existence of puppies, rainbows, and successful single-payer health programs." And, interestingly, despite dismissals of early match-up polling, "In a comprehensive analysis of elections between 1952 and 2008, Robert Erikson and Christopher Wleizen found that matchup polls as early as April have generally produced results close to the outcome in November. Even much earlier 'trial heats' seem to be far from meaningless. As partisan polarization has increased over the last three decades, there's some evidence that early polling has become more predictive than ever. In all five elections since 1996, February matchup polls yielded average results within two points of the final outcome. [...] The unstable and multidimensional identity of the 'moderate' voter helps explain why Sanders's own polling numbers have regularly confounded the prejudices of pundits. In New Hampshire, for instance, where experts repeatedly stressed his strength with 'liberals,' Sanders actually did even better with 'moderate/conservative' voters."

Again, I still don't think the Republicans can beat either Democrat, but this guys does: "Unless the Democrats Run Sanders, A Trump Nomination Means a Trump Presidency [...] But this is far from a typical previous American election. And recently, everything about the electability calculus has changed, due to one simple fact: Donald Trump is likely to be the Republican nominee for President. Given this reality, every Democratic strategic question must operate not on the basis of abstract electability against a hypothetical candidate, but specific electability against the actual Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Here, a Clinton match-up is highly likely to be an unmitigated electoral disaster, whereas a Sanders candidacy stands a far better chance. Every one of Clinton's (considerable) weaknesses plays to every one of Trump's strengths, whereas every one of Trump's (few) weaknesses plays to every one of Sanders's strengths. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, running Clinton against Trump is a disastrous, suicidal proposition."

"Why Baby Boomers Don't Get Bernie Sanders: Hillary speaks to them. He speaks to everyone else. [...] Surveying one hundred years of history, though, the question is not why younger voters are embracing Sanders's populist revolution, but why the Baby Boomer generation came to believe that Bill and Hillary Clinton - with their close ties to big business - should become the standard-bearers for the nation's liberal party. In other words, Bernie's millennial army isn't the generational exception. Hillary's Boomers are."

This was a brave soul: "'I'm not a Superpredator, Hillary!': Black Lives Matter protestors confront Clinton at South Carolina fundraiser."
* But this is wishful thinking. I don't know why, but none of this stuff is having an impact on Hillary's image as a champion of the black community.

But how is the DNC's voter-suppression tactic going to work for them in November? "Democratic turnout at primaries is down, and fewer voter registration drives could be to blame. [...] For decades, the "Get Out the Vote" campaigns and voter registration drives have been driven by liberals. The logic is this: the bulk of unregistered voters in the United States have Democratic leanings. The more people who are registered and the more people who vote increases the likelihood that Democratic candidates will win. College campuses and youth events are gold mines for unregistered voters. In previous presidential elections, you couldn't step foot on a college campus or go to a concert in the country without being hounded to register. But it doesn't seem to be a priority this year, and I can't help but to think that party leaders don't mind." Because those unregistered voters are the ones who are most likely to break for Sanders, among other things. And then there's that paltry number of low-profile debates. The whole thing seems geared to depress voter turn-out in the primaries, but just how does that work for generating enthusiasm on election day? "When the Democratic Party loses interest in voter registration and voter empowerment, it is truly blurring the lines between what makes it fundamentally different than the Republican Party." And yet, Democratic voters are supporting this leadership because they think it's better placed to win in November. Maybe it isn't.

James K. Galbraith spanks Krueger, Goolbee, Romer and Tyson - and Krugman: "I was highly interested to see your letter of yesterday's date to Senator Sanders and Professor Gerald Friedman. I respond here as a former Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee - the congressional counterpart to the CEA. You write that you have applied rigor to your analyses of economic proposals by Democrats and Republicans. On reading this sentence I looked to the bottom of the page, to find a reference or link to your rigorous review of Professor Friedman's study. I found nothing there. [...] It is not fair or honest to claim that Professor Friedman's methods are extreme. On the contrary, with respect to forecasting method, they are largely mainstream. Nor is it fair or honest to imply that you have given Professor Friedman's paper a rigorous review. You have not. What you have done, is to light a fire under Paul Krugman, who is now using his high perch to airily dismiss the Friedman paper as 'nonsense.' Paul is an immensely powerful figure, and many people rely on him for careful assessments. It seems clear that he has made no such assessment in this case."
* Goldsmith responds to Krugman.

Bill Curry: "The Clintons really don't get it: False attacks and failed strategies as Hillary repeats 2008: They're distorting Sanders' plans and ham-handedly using Obama and race. It's a dangerous game and a losing plan" An interesting aside about the way the press likes Clinton: "It may explain the boffo reviews of Clinton's PBS debate performance, as in the Times headline, 'Analysis: Clinton Is Cool, Calm and Effective.' Pundits praised her superior grasp of policy partly out of habit - it was true of earlier debates - but also because it's how they see the world. They should read the transcript. If anything, Bernie does the better job of explaining how he'd fund his programs. Hillary won't say how she'd pay for Social Security. She says she has a universal healthcare plan but she doesn't. She has a laundry list of programs, one for each demographic, all with unanswered questions about implementation, effectiveness and affordability."

2008: February 26 Democratic Debate - Clinton and Obama on NAFTA

"Hillary Clinton's Ghosts: A Legacy of Pushing the Democratic Party to the Right" - Bernie Sanders has put bread and butter issues on the table and forced the dialogue to move away from the right and back toward the center, but there's a "but": "But the party's latest generation of "New Democrats" - self-described "moderates" who are funded by Wall Street and are aggressively trying to steer the party to the right - have noticed this trend and are now fighting back. Third Way, a "centrist" think tank that serves as the hub for contemporary New Democrats, has recently published a sizable policy paper, "Ready for the New Economy," urging the Democratic Party to avoid focusing on economic inequality. Former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley, a Third Way trustee, recently argued that Sanders' influence on the primary "is a recipe for disaster" for Democrats." Yes, the DLC may have closed up it's storefront, but it's still moving and shaking just as strong as ever.

"Secrets, lies and the iPhone: A CIA whistleblower talks about Obama's bizarre secrecy obsession - and why Hillary and Bernie won't talk about it: This isn't about Apple vs. the FBI ' it's about a 'progressive' president with a dismal record on civil liberties [...] So what's the deal with Barack Obama? How did our coolest-ever president also turn out to be the one who pursued leakers and whistleblowers with a vengefulness and vigor without precedent in American history?"

This is from a few years ago, but a good reminder: "How Obama's Early Career Success Was Built on Fronting for Chicago Real Estate and Finance" - Something I've noticed about neoliberal proponents during campaign season is that there's always a sell stream deflecting your attention from the real record of their candidates and telling you something else. They know that no one is going to read up on it. (Remember how when asked about Obama's actual positions and policies, we kept being told to "Read his book"? Well, if people had read his book, they would have known he was no progressive and was pretty much saying outright that he was for sale, but they knew you weren't going to, so it was win-win for them.) So they released a video of Obama saying something about how if we were starting from scratch, single-payer would be the way to go, to imply (falsely) that Obama wanted single-payer. They told us he was a Constitutional scholar, perhaps trying to imply that he was the successor to Thurgood Marshall, when of course he ended up using what legal acumen he had to codify George W. Bush's policies. He was a "community organizer" (though not much of one, it turns out), but his real work was the kind of thing that's in this speech. "Fitch gave his eye-opening speech before an unlikely audience at an unlikely time: the Harlem Tenants Association in November 2008, hard on the heels of Obama's electrifying presidential win. The first part contains his prescient prediction: that Obama's Third Way stance, that we all need to put our differences aside and get along, was tantamount to advocating the interests of the wealthy, since they seldom give anything to the have-nots without a fight. That discussion alone is reason to read the piece. But the important part is his description of the role that Obama played in the redevelopment of the near South Side of Chicago, and how he and other middle class blacks, including Valerie Jarrett and his wife Michelle, advanced at the expense of poor blacks by aligning themselves with what Fitch calls 'friendly FIRE': powerful real estate players like the Pritzkers and the Crown family, major banks, the University of Chicago, as well as non-profit community developers and real estate reverends."

"Why DeRay Mckesson's Baltimore Campaign Looks Like It Comes Right Out of Teach for America's Playbook: As Mckesson launches his outsider candidacy for mayor of Baltimore, many worry his roots in the education privatization movement put the city's public schools in peril."

"Let Them Eat Privilege: Focusing on privilege diverts attention away from the real villains." It's very important for us to check each other's privilege instead of looking at the people who actually have it.

Charlie Pierce: "The Roots of Donald Trump's Candidacy Lie in a South Carolina Cemetery [...] 'ATWATER,' the plaque reads. 'H. Lee. 1951-1991. Father, Leader, Husband, Son.'"

Melissa Harris-Perry and the Fall of the "Negro Whisperers"

When you're forced to train foreign workers to take over your job

This is Frank Luntz giving the latest reason why the kids will change everything. Anyone else remember being 15 and being told it would all be better once the old people died out and we got to take over? Yeah, me too.

"Is the US undermining India's solar power programme? Whatever happened to all the talk of international co-operation to tackle climate change that we heard during the climate conference in Paris just a few months ago? That is what many environmentalists are asking after the United States delivered a damaging blow to India's ambitious solar power programme this week. In response to a US complaint, a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel has ruled that India's National Solar Mission breaches trade rules. It judged that India's policies on buying locally made solar power equipment discriminates against imports."

UK: "The government has announced the outlawing of intellectual opposition."

David Cameron launches personal attack on Jeremy Corbyn's appearance: The prime minister made the remarks after a Labour MP shouted out in the Commons chamber that Mary Cameron should be asked about the NHS after she signed a petition opposing cuts to children's centres. The prime minister replied: 'Ask my mother? I think I know what my mother would say. I think she'd look across the dispatch box and she'd say: put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem.' Corbyn immediately hit back and cited his late mother, Naomi, a peace campaigner. He said: 'Talking of motherly advice, my late mother would have said: 'stand up for the principle of a health service free at the point of use' because that is what she dedicated her life to, as did many people of her generation.'" The Prime Minister's suit cost more than he expects a sick person to live on for a year.

"It's the £30bn cut you've never heard of. And women are bearing the brunt: Women in their 50s, who benefited little from feminism, are being told they must pay the price of equality with a rise in their retirement age." Oh, but it's worse than that: "The reform itself dates back to 1995, however the government did not get in touch with those affected until 2009, 14 years later. Initially the reform was supposed to be phased in slowly, but in 2011 George Osborne decided to accelerate the process of equalisation by several years. Many women had been expecting for years to receive their pension at 60, and yet all of a sudden the reality was that they would not be receiving a single penny until they were 66. Entire life plans had to be remedied, with less than five years' notice." And that's leaving aside how ludicrous it is to expect people (of either sex) who are already considered "too old" to keep on the job to find some way to make ends meet once they've already reached the age of 60.

British fetish film-makers are organising against censorship [...] "Under the ATVOD regime, many of us were targeted for censorship, and some of us have had our websites forced offline entirely. Some, such as myself, have appealed to Ofcom regarding ATVOD's decision - as Itzi did, successfully, in the wake of ATVOD's investigation into her site the Urban Chick Supremacy Cell. While many appeals to Ofcom are still pending, that organisation has become the sole regulator of video on demand, and none of us knows how we will fare under the new regime."

"Sex worker and activist Laura Lee: 'It's now far more difficult to stay safe': The criminalisation of men who pay for sex in Northern Ireland was supposed to protect women - but one of the few sex workers prepared to talk publicly says it will do the opposite. As Laura Lee prepares to challenge the new law in court, she explains the trials and consolations of the oldest profession."

Backlash Submits Written Evidence To Home Affairs Committee Inquiry On Prostitution: "We contest this assumption on the simple basis that sex workers are, in fact, human beings capable of as much choice and agency as anyone else. They are not typically 'forced' into their line of work anymore than anyone else is compelled by material circumstances to seek employment. While such choices may sometimes reflect an economically insecure position (just as working longer hours or accepting harsher conditions in other sectors may reflect such a position), reducing demand for sex work will not improve that economic position."

RIP: Lennie Baker, Sha Na Na Singer and Saxophone Player, Dies at 69. Here he is leading on "Blue Moon".

Great moments leading to Second Wave Feminism: Once upon a time, Germaine Greer was an editor of an underground paper called Suck. They got the idea that all the editors should take turns posing nude in the paper. Foolishly, she went first - and of course, the others never got around to doing it. This is the photo that was published. Not work-safe.

OZ Magazine archive: "OZ magazine was published in London between 1967 and 1973 under the general editorship of Richard Neville and later also Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis. Martin Sharp was initially responsible for art and graphic design. Copies of OZ can be viewed and downloaded for research purposes from this site. OZ magazine is reproduced by permission of Richard Neville. Please be advised: This collection has been made available due to its historical and research importance. It contains explicit language and images that reflect attitudes of the era in which the material was originally published, and that some viewers may find confronting."

IF Magazine archives. It was launched in 1952 and "merged into Galaxy Science Fiction after the December 1974 issue, its 175th issue overall."

A Stunning Scale Model of Our Solar System, Drawn in the Desert

The Calvin and Muad'Dib mash-up

"The Setup Wizard" - Daily accounts of a Muggle I.T. guy working at Hogwarts.

I may not rate him much as a president, but you gotta admit the guy is one of the great actors of our time.

The Rolling Stones, on Tops of the Pops, 1965

Thanks so much, Mark and Mike.